Diane Blum

Freelance Writer

"Blog, herbal incense"
Legalization of Pot Got You Worried? Don’t be…The Internet Is Already Marketing Legal Pot to Your Teens Today

So you threatened your teen with random drug tests for pot and figured you’d won the war…well, wait a minute. That was just one battle, and I hate to tell you, but technology is out there working to win the war against you, parents.Whether you believe pot should be legalized or not doesn’t really matter anymore. And do you know why?
There is a new and improved drug in town…well, not so new, maybe. But definitely improved: meaning, potentially more potent than regular pot and completely undetectable.
It is called “K2”, or herbal incense. It is an herb that has been sprayed with a chemical compound which mimics the active ingredient in pot. It is completely legal and sold in “head shops” (stores that sell smoking paraphernalia) and on hundreds of online sites. There is no age limit regarding who can purchase it. Most of it is made in China and is completely unregulated, and therefore untested, with no controls in terms of potency or safety.
The technology that makes this possible is two-fold. The scientific side of things enabled chemists to design a compound (“JWH-018”) to mimic the active ingredient in pot. And once again, that nasty little internet facilitates the marketing and distribution of K2 under so many names (Genie, Supernova, Spirit, Blonde, Citron…the list goes on and on) and variants (of potency), all for about the cost of real pot, to anyone who can pay for it. And did you get the point that it is completely undetectable?
K2 has become increasingly popular since 2009. Manufacturers hype the “natural” aspects of K2, which sounds pretty safe, right? But, the chemical sprayed on those natural herbs hasn’t been studied much by researchers so the long-term effects of using the drug are not known. Some countries, like Germany and Austria, have already banned it. Some US Military commands have banned it given the potential for abuse. One of the scientists who actually helped develop the JWH-018 compound has been quoted as saying the compound was developed for research, not for use, and given that its metabolism and toxicity isn’t understood should be viewed as potentially dangerous. The few scientists who have been looking at the actual sold “product” (by purchasing it from websites) have found a lot of inconsistency in the amount of compound sprayed on the herbal product as well as in the synthetic materials packed in with the herbs delivered with the product. Yikes. Nothing like sucking up unknown contaminants and toxins into your lungs!
I still haven’t personally decided which side of the pot legalization argument I am on. But I can tell you that K2 bothers me more, and not just because it is undetectable or being sold to minors. K2 scares me because it contains several different synthetic compounds which aren’t understood and because many scientists would tell you that addiction is potentially greater with synthetic drugs. So, next time you go down memory lane smelling incense in your teenager’s room, you might just want to check on what they are doing with it. Times have changed.
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